Leucoderma, though identified as a disease of the leprosy group, is not as fatal as leprosy, nor are secretions of fluid present; and that is why leucoderma is not a contagious disease. Leprosy attacks due to the disturbance of all seven elements of the body, and severely affects the entire body and mind within a very short time; but with leucoderma, usually only three elements – blood, flesh and fat – become disturbed.
At first, reddish-coloured spots appear on different parts of the body, such as the chest, face, heels, toes, fingers and lips. It appears as if the skin of those parts has become pale, and later those red spots become white. It has already been said that leucoderma is not a contagious disease, but those white patches look so ugly that people are frightened and look at leucoderma patients hatefully, as if they were sinners or criminals.
Causes: Contamination of the blood is the root cause of leucoderma. Where the skin has suddenly become weak due to excessive acidity of the blood, there the disease appears. We usually notice that if a person is suffering from chronic constipation, or if one has been treated with astringent medicines which keep the poison of dysentery inside the body, then that person may suffer from an attack of leucoderma as an after-effect of or reaction to the previous disease. That is why I previously felt obliged to express my opinion against using injections to stop dysentery.
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudrá, Karmásana, Ud́d́ayana Mudrá, Agnisára Mudrá, Diirgha Prańáma, Yogamudrá, Bhújauṋgásana, and Ágneyii Mudrá or Ágneyii Práńáyáma.
Evening – Sarváuṋgásana, Matsyamudrá, Naokásana, Pashcimottánásana, Ud́d́ayana Mudrá, Agnisára Mudrá and Matsyendrásana.
At both times, after performing the ásanas, patients should do shiitalii kumbhaka and should give the affected areas a good massage.
Diet: Constipating foods should be strictly avoided. Foods which increase the amount of pitta should also be rejected. Fish, meat, eggs, ghee and large quantities of spices usually weaken the liver and bring about constipation, which is one of the causes of leucoderma. In this disease fish and other non-vegetarian foods are very harmful, hence they are to be avoided like poison. No matter how great is the desire for non-vegetarian dishes, patients shall have to control that desire. Leafy vegetables such as heleiṋcá, gimá, ámarula, bráhmii, etc., are most beneficial for leucoderma patients.
Dos and don’ts: Leucoderma and dysentery are related diseases. Therefore, the dos and don’ts stipulated for dysentery should generally be observed for leucoderma also. It is desirable for patients to drink at least four-and-a-half seers of water a day – a small quantity at a time, many times during the day. Both sweet and sour fruit juices are very beneficial. It is also very desirable to fast on Ekádashii, Púrńimá and Amávasyá days. In summer and winter at the proper time, patients should take a sun-bath for ten to fifteen minutes and thereafter should sponge the whole body with a wet towel. This process should be repeated a few times. After the last sun-bath, instead of using a wet towel, patients should massage their bodies with olive oil, or, if this is not available, with mahuyá oil. One has to remember that sunshine is essential if one is to maintain the health of the skin and therefore sun-bathing is very beneficial for any disease produced by weakness of the skin.
It is not at all impossible to recover from leucoderma if the ásanas and other prescriptions given above are followed with patience.
Because three elements of the body are disturbed in this disease, care must be taken to control one’s diet and other habits. Sleeping during the day, staying awake at night, sexual intercourse, overeating, etc., have to avoided at all costs.
Some remedies: 1. Mix extract of ámrá bark in goat’s milk and drink the mixture every morning early.
2. Take the juice of ámarula shák with sugar.
3. Take a ripe banana fried in ghee, together with a spoonful of dugdhakśiira juice, every day in the morning.
4. Prepare a paste of buckiidáná by grinding it in water, and apply it to the affected skin.
5. Procure a piece of cow’s bone and grind it in the juice of kála kesendá, and apply the mixture as an ointment on the affected area. This will yield good results.
6. To cure leucoderma within a very short time, grind 1/16 tola of white jayanti in cow’s milk, and drink that mixture on a Sunday.